Andrew Lojero: Timelessness on a Budget
[Editor's note: Weekly scribe Jeff Weiss's column, "Bizarre Ride," appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday. His archives are available here.]
You can't quite call Andrew Lojero a promoter. It does him a disservice to say that he "throws shows." What he does is closer to arranging love letters to music.
Take "That '70s Soul," Lojero's latest Art Don't Sleep extravaganza taking place this Sunday at the Mayan Theater. A celebration of James Brown, Al Green, Marvin Gaye and other soul architects, it features orchestral reinterpretations of classics and special guests including Brazilian troubadour Seu Jorge and teardrop-soul icon Shuggie Otis.
See also: Our review of Shuggie Otis
"I wanted to present things that no one else was," Lojero says. Bearded, brown-eyed and Buddha-like, he sits serenely on an olive green couch at the two-story Mount Washington house he shares. He's wearing a Barry White shirt designed by the much-loved, currently deported DJ-artist Kutmah. Nag Champa incense smoke sweetens the air.
The walls are decorated with framed posters of Lojero's productions -- a roll call of internationally revered musicians including Pete Rock, Roy Ayers, Madlib and Flying Lotus. "I'm not trying to do whatever's cool, I'm trying to take a timeless approach," he says.
The easy money in promotion is to ride the cresting waves and abandon trends at the first drop of the snapback. Lojero has taken the opposite tack. His functions never rely on hype beasts. Instead, they fuse artists committed to grooves from every decade and genre: jazz fusion, velour soul, Afro-beat, Brazilian Tropicalia and hip-hop.
"These are tough to do financially," Lojero says. He estimates the production cost of "That '70s Soul" at $35,000, with an 80-person staff including performers. But Lojero handles all booking, publicity and arrangements -- down to collaborating on the set list with musical director Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.